Well hello there. I have been back in the good ole USA for about 12 days and figured it was a good time to now reflect and talk about my trip. I will start off saying that Africa is a special place. The people there are kind, and I absolutely loved every minute and would go back in a heart beat. The trip opened my eyes up to the blessings I have, and the work I need to be doing. Zimbabwe will always have a special place in my heart, and I hope to return again one day!
Top LR: Heather, Time, Micah, myself
Bottom LR: Kendall, Leandrea, Katie, Anna, Leah, Rachel
These were some incredible people I had the pleasure of getting to spend 9 days with. I learned a lot from them, and I hope I was able to teach them something as well. Listening to them lead devotions, worship, and watching them work you could tell they had the joy of Lord bursting out of them. I am thankful for everyone of them, and continue to pray as they go about their normal lives and prepare for camp this summer.
A funny story about ole Tim. Tim was one guy who Micah and I really enjoyed being around. Tim was a hard worker and would very easily make you laugh. Micah, Katie, Rachel, and I were in the DC airport about to board for our 17 hour flight to Joburg (What the African people refer to as Johannesburg). We were really worried because the rest of the team was not there yet, while playing on one of ours phones we realized Tim had taken the time to Check in on Facebook at “Dulles International Airport (DC)” but not yet made it to the gate. He had time to do that, but not run to the gate??! That’s the kind of guy Tim was laid back and chill, and luckily this summer at camp he will be my camp pastor one week!
I could tell countless stories of all the people from Heather’s 10 second dance parties to Kendall’s adventure getting to Africa. However, that would take the whole blog. Let me just say I love these people, and it was an honor to walk beside them carrying out the Will of God. I know without a doubt God places us all on that team for certain reasons, it was a great trip and the people made it even better.
LR: Caitlin, Tonderai, Shadreck (Shakes), Dax, Shepherd, Lauren
not pictured: Eden and Emma
These folks were responsible for our food, transportation, and safety. They were incredible and I thank the Lord for them, because without them we may not have made it. They cooked all of our meals, and let me say that they were absolutely delicious. They were hard workers and went out of their way to make sure we were having a good experience. They spoke wisdom to us and taught us things we may never have known. I learned worms aren’t that bad, sugar can is delicious, and I need to see “Man on Fire” since it was all their favorites. They were awesome, plain and simple.
We also found out something pretty cool about our pal Dax. When we went to the market people kept hugging him and shaking his hands, which was weird. Tonderai told us why this odd event was transpiring though, Dax was a star. He won the Oscar in Zimbabwe for “Top Male Actor”. It’s legit look him up, Dax L. Jackson. He never once told us that, and when I asked him why he replied “It’s not important.” He was too busy focused on the task at hand. Which spoke volumes for his humbleness and willingness to serve. I could tell you all kinds of stories about these friends, and hopefully one day you will get to hear them!
First, that big blue bus you see above. That is the bus that we traveled everywhere in, I am serious. Picked us up from the airport, took us to church, the market, and the 5 hour drive from Harare to Sanyati. We called here Triple B, or Busta and she was a beast. It was a kitchen, a hotel (Tim), and luggage carrier all in one. Basically Busta was a transformer.
Sanyati was an amazing place. Everyone was friendly and waved, all the kids said hello and offered many hugs. We met one guy named Baba Office, he was supposed to come clean the house I stayed in but he never did. We loved Baba Office none the less, he told me he was a good soccer player and he loved number 9. So I everyday when I say Baba Office I would say “Stepping at Forward, the African with the plan, number 9, BABAAAAAAAAAAAA Office” in my best announcer voice. Oh boy, did he love that! So much that I literally had to do it everyday. Cool story. A while back I ordered some free shirts that UA students can get for intramurals. I ordered 10, numbers 1-10 all say Cornutt on the back. I took one of them on the trip and it so happened to be number 9, so I gave it to Baba Office. That guy was awesome.
Another guy was David, oh David. He called me “Professor” when he found out that I was studying Political Science. He used to be a politician, but when he rebelled against the corrupt government they took everything from him. He showed me some cool documents and gave me some incredible information about the corruption in the country. David was famous for carrying on a conversation and in the middle of it going “let’s go to work” and the man worked hard. David spoke his mind, once telling Leah to get up from her 10 second break and to work. I believe he asked everyone of us for at least on shirt, in which we gave him a few. My favorite line is “Professor, may I have some water for drinking?” Uhh, what else are you going to do with it? Although David got to us a bit, and often corrected us when were doing things right (Katie), we all loved him. He asked me once if I was filled with the Holy Spirit, and when I told him yes he asked what that meant. He got Micah to lead to worship at the hospitals morning chapel. David was unique, and I am thankful I made a friend in him.
In the village there was a Baptist high school in which 800 students attend, and 600 of them board there. We got to tour the school and see the trades they were learning, which was a really cool thing to see. We then went out to the yard where the kids were playing basketball. I stepped up and hit a shot and the kids went nuts, which I used in my advantage with my new found popularity to lead them in a “Roll Tide” chant. The kids at the school and village were so cool. They all wanted to take pictured and bump knuckles with you. Tim and I gave some little girls a few “Hot Wheels” toys and they hugged us, and then ran off and giggled. Later that day they were waiting playing on our porch with their toys, bummed knuckles with us and ran off. They always said hi and were just so nice. It was the way all the people were, it seemed so much more genuine than here at home.
Sanyati is a place I hope to see again and get to minister to the people more.
As you can see we were up on the roof for the majority of the day. The main emphasis of this trip was construction on the hospital which badly needs new roofing. Once all the new roofing is up the hospital will be 20 degrees cooler on the inside, which is a big deal since they have no A/C. As you can see, what we did was get up on the roof, pull the nails out of the old roof, pass the old roof down, chip the old mortar off, replace any boards, put up the new roof, and add new mortar. It was hard work, and it was hot up on that roof! It also took a long time to get that process done for every sheet, but with a lot of hard work and guidance of Matt and Randy (Two guys from Ohio and Kentucky who were construction gurus) we were able to complete the HIV/AIDS counseling end of the hospital. I am no handy man, and I think almost all of us aside from Tim, Matt, and Randy can say we really had no construction experience. So it was really awesome to see everyone so eager to learn and work, the attitudes were wonderful and without each person it wouldn’t have gotten done. From the roofing, to the mortar making, to the carrying of pieces. Every person contributed in an awesome way, and I am proud to say I served along this team.
Like I said earlier, Zimbabwe now has a special place in my heart. I want to go back soon and I pray the opportunity arises. I want to ask you to join me in prayer for my friends in the Zimbabwe area. There are 10 million people in Zimbabwe, but 9 million are lost. The country essentially has no economy, they use the US dollar because their money is worthless (I have a 50 billion dollar bill). 36% of the country is HIV positive, no further explanation. The unemployment rate has risen to 80%, Zimbabwe has a very corrupt government that is betraying its own people.
Zim is a great place with great people, but they are missing something. They are missing a savior, join in praying for the ACTS team that guided us as the help that number of 9 million shrink daily. Pray that the people look to the father to have their needs met, not the lifestyle they are accustomed too. Pray that missionaries are sent to a county of 10 million that has 1 IMB missionary. Pray for Zimbabwe.
Psalm 9:11 “…. proclaim among the nations what he has done”